Recap From All 8 FHSAA 1A District XC Meets

Meet recaps from all 8 districts in the 1A classification from last week in Florida.

1A District 1 Meet

October 26th @ Twin Oaks Park in Niceville, FL

The Pensacola Christian Academy team and runners dominated their district meet sweeping the individual and team titles for both boys and girls. 

The Pensacola Christian girls swept the top 5 places for a perfect score of 15 points led by a three-way finish across the line between the Tutton sisters RaeAnne (1st, 19:43.4) and Jaimee (2nd, 19:43.5) as well as teammate Reagan Smith (3rd, 19:43.9). Both Jaimee Tutton and Reagan Smith are only eighth-graders.

With a 20:19 team average at their district meet, the Pensacola Christian girls are a sleeper team to watch to potentially make a push for a state meet podium finish in 1A while being isolated in the Panhandle of the state. 

The Port St. Joe girls were the runner-up squad in the district meet with 61 points led by sixth-place finisher and senior Madelyn Gortermoller (21:52).

Older brother to RaeAee and Jaimee in senior J.T. Tutton was a runaway winner in the boys' race with a first-place effort of 16:44. Pensacola Christian teammate Drew Birx was the next closest finisher in second place at 17:16.

Their squad tallied a low team score of 21 points to put them well ahead of the runner-up squad Blountstown with 83 points after putting 8 runners among the top 10 places including 6 under 18 minutes. 

Only Malone freshman Jackson Welch in third place (17:18) and Rocky Bayou Christian sophomore Jonah Berry (4th, 17:23) were able to break up the varsity lineup from Pensacola Christian in putting up a perfect score like their girls.

1A District 2 Meet

October 28th @ Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, FL

A district meet that got the privilege of racing on the state meet course in Tallahassee might have also seen several potential state champions racing on it as well.

St. Johns Country Day School senior and University of Florida commit Matthew Stratton easily cruised to the individual title in the boys race with a time of 16:22. He ran over a minute faster on the same course in an all-out effort of 15:19 at the FSU Pre-State Invite a few weeks ago. Stratton certainly projects as the overwhelming state title favorite in 1A currently. 

His teammate Graham Myers also joined him under 17 minutes as the district runner-up in 16:54, but it would be the host school Maclay School (66 pts) that would overcome the 1-2 punch upfront by St. Johns Country Day School (68 pts) to win the district team title by a mere two points. 

The top six teams were very competitively close in the standings for boys with nearly six squads under 100 points with Maclay School, St. Johns Country Day, Bishop Snyder (3rd, 84 pts), Providence School (4th, 88 pts), St. Joseph Academy (5th, 99 pts), and Community Christian School (6th, 108 pts). 

In the girls' race, Susan Gracie Koeppel of Maclay School and Laci Watford of University Christian School battled upfront as two likely All-State finishers in a few weeks on the same course. Koeppel was able to pull away from Watford (2nd, 19:40) for an 8-second margin of victory in a time of 19:32. 

After Koeppel, the Maclay School girls were able to put 5 more runners among the top 15 places with Mary Clayton Soto (3rd, 19:53), Kassidy Moninger (4th, 20:46), Caroline Couch (7th, 21:12), Lillian Koeppel (12th, 21:28), and Payton Thumm (14th, 21:55). Their team score of 27 points put them a good distance ahead of the runner-up squad in Providence School of Jacksonville with 82 points. 

1A District 3 Meet

October 26th @ Alligator Park in Lake City, FL

The Oak Hall School program rolled thru their district competition in 1A District 3 claiming both team and individual titles on the day at Alligator Park. 

The Oak Hall boys were led by last spring's outdoor 3200 meter state champion Caden Montini pacing his teammates Asher Dobrin (2nd, 17:17) and Jake Ciocca (3rd, 17:21) to the finish line with a winning time of 17:14. Oak Hall had another pack come in together from places 7 thru 10 to complete their team scoring at 21 points.

St. Francis Catholic was the runner-up squad with 61 points as senior Julian Bautista led their crew in fourth place individually with a time of 17:29.

The Oak Hall girls might have even been slightly more impressive than their male counterparts posting an even lower winning team score of 18 points and team average of 20:54 on the Alligator Park 5K course.

Two upperclassmen powered the way for their district title with individual district champion and senior Lauren Jones in a winning time of 19:42 and followed next almost a minute later by her junior teammate Sydney Miller in second place with a time of 20:38.  Jones has a season-best time of 18:23 from earlier this season at New World. 

Oak Hall girls would take 5 of the top 6 places as only Emily Han from First Academy of Leesburg in third place at 20:43 was able to break up their scoring five with Alivia Dragstedt (4th, 20:49), Mackenzie Klein (5th, 21:38), and Eliana Eisner (6th, 21:43) quickly rounding out the team scoring.

Oak Hall is one of only a handful of schools in the state which has both a boys and girls team capable of being state meet top 2 podium squad this fall.

It was incredibly tight in the team scoring to determine the runner-up girls squad in the district between Mount Dora Christian (2nd, 96 pts), Trinity Catholic (3rd, 98 pts) and St. John Lutheran (4th, 99 pts).

1A District 4 Meet

October 30th @ Indian River Fairgrounds in Vero Beach, FL 

The Circle Christian boys and girls from Winter Park were resounding winners of the team competition at the 1A District 4 Meet, which was one of the last meets to be held for the week on Saturday in Vero Beach. 

The junior Jack DeJesus, a likely All-State finisher in 1A, led the Circle Christian boys running away from the field with a winning time of 16:11. His freshman teammate Will Neeld was the next finisher to roll thru in 16:42 for second place. Circle Christian had a total of 5 runners among the top 10 places individually to claim the district title with 25 points. 

Holy Trinity Academy boys with 65 points stayed ahead of Foundation Academy with 87 points for the runner-up trophy led by two underclassmen in freshman Skyler Jensen (5th, 17:10) and sophomore Augustine Stehley (6th, 17:10), while Foundation Academy had senior Mehari Van der Riet up ahead in third place with a final time of 17:02.

The Master's Academy sophomore Ava Wyant spoiled Circle Christian's plans of sweeping all the titles as she was able to drop Circle Christian's front runner and senior Sarah Rudolph (2nd, 19:55) in the girls' race to win the 1A District 4 title with a time of 19:39. It was the second-fastest time of the season by Wyant, who posted a 19:29 PR at the FSU Pre-State Invite two weeks ago. 

The Circle Christian girls saw their entire top 5 runners all run under 21 minutes on a fair and not necessarily a speedway course at Indian River Fairgrounds. All of their scoring runners were among the top 15 places with Rudolph, Leah Moury (7th, 20:13), Grace DeJesus (8th, 20:23), Rachel Judy (9th, 20:24), and Mia Carlson (13th, 20:49). Their team score of 39 points put them well ahead of any other squad in the district, while also keeping their time spread under a minute at 54 seconds. 

Holy Trinity Academy (2nd, 103 pts) held off The Pine School (3rd, 119 pts) for the runner-up team trophy despite The Pine School having a top 3 all in the 20-minute range between two eighth-graders in Emerson Brinn (4th, 20:07) and Fripp Stringfellow (10th, 20:42) as well as sophomore Amelie Galbraith (12th, 20:46). 

1A District 5 Meet

October 26th @ Mary Help of Christians Academy in Tampa, FL

One of the more elite talent districts at the 1A level led Florida's top-ranked cross country squad regardless of classification in the Cambridge Christian girls. Their team did what they needed to do to move on from the district meet led by the senior duo of Mary Ellen Eudaly and Caroline Lehman going 1-2 together and both timed at 18:23 on a fairly challenging 5K course at Mary Help of Christians in Tampa.

It was one of the better races of the season for the two-mile state record holder Lehman who has been working her way back to top shape from a summer foot injury. It was only in the final strides with her teammate Eudaly having the better leg speed kicked just slightly ahead for first place.  

Cambridge would sweep the top 4 places individually with sophomore Madeleine Gear in third place at 20:02 and eighth-grader Eliana Black saving herself for the FLYRA Middle School State Championships race took fourth place at 20:08. Madelyn Spadaro rounded out their team scoring in eighth place at 21:03.

Keswick Christian junior Ella Beckett (5th, 20:15), Seffner Christian freshman Reagan Chambless (6th, 20:37), and Tampa Bay HEAT senior Elizabeth Poe (7th, 20:53) all ran exceptionally well individual to break up the Cambridge Christian top-five and run under 21 minutes on the day. Cambridge Christian finished a point off a perfect score with 16 points as the district champions. 

Lakeland Christian also ran strong as the runner-up squad with 74 points keeping their top 5 average relatively tight at 1 minute 32 seconds compared to the other schools in the district which none had a top 5 average under 2 minutes.

A sixth grader remarkably led the way for their team in Emma Wilkinson with a 21:05 performance for ninth place overall.

Meanwhile, the Indian Rocks Christian boys considered among the top 3 teams overall in the 1A classification and state title contender, took a very different approach to their district race deciding to treat the meet as a tempo run running as a pack with their first six finishers coming in together over an eight-second span (18:29-18:37) from places 14 thru 19. 

With their strategy or approach to holding back at the district meet, there was an opening of the door for other schools going all out to potentially claim the team title. Cambridge Christian and Seffner Christian would be those two teams battling for first place.

Seffner Christian had the front running advantage led by Christian Giller not having Mateo Luna of Indian Rocks racing hard to challenge him to route the field with a winning time of 16:22 by the Seffner Christian senior. Giller's teammate and fellow senior Andrew Stowe would grab the individual runner-up spot in 17:03, while Elizabeth Poe's younger brother Barrett Poe of Tampa Bay Heat finished 3rd in a time of 17:15. 

Cambridge Christian would place 5 runners among the top 13 places to counter the front two for Seffner Christian including a tight trio in Braxton Legg (4th, 17:30), Ryan Cano (5th, 17:33), and Christian Escribano (6th, 17:35) working together to the finish line. The top 3 team scoring went 40 points for Cambridge Christian, 56 points for Seffner Christian, and 80 points for Indian Rocks Christina.

Expect a more all-out effort from Indian Rocks Christian at the regional meet as they aim to peak for a potential state champion finish in two weeks. 

1A District 6 Meet

October 28th @ Southwest Florida Christian in Fort Myers, FL

A rare sixth-runner tiebreaker was needed to determine the district boys team champion in Fort Myers on Thursday for the 1A District 6 meet between Out of Door Academy and Southwest Florida Christian Academy with both teams tallying 52 points after five runners. The advantage went to Out of Door with their sixth runner 15 points ahead of Southwest Florida Christian's sixth. 

Tristan McWilliam led the way out front for the Out of Door boys winning the individual district title with a time of 16:43. McWilliam was over 30 seconds ahead of the next closest finisher in Hayden Tank from Southwest Florida Christian as the runner-up at 17:15. 

Evangelical Christian junior Ava Povich won the girls' race as highly expected by a comfortable margin of 24 seconds with her time of 19:37. She will have much more comfortably at regionals in the same region with the Cambridge Christian girls. 

The team order switched for the girls as Southwest Florida Christian with 78 points was able to outperform Out of Door Academy in second place with 85 points. 

1A District 7 Meet

October 26th @ South County Regional Park in Boca Raton, FL

South Florida HEAT had both individual champions, while the Benjamin School swept both the team titles at the 1A District 7 Meet hosted at South County Regional Park as the same venue for the Spanish River Invitational earlier in the season. 

A sophomore in Hunter Morgan of South Florida HEAT won the boys race' with a time of 17:41 and was followed in next by his teammate in junior Bryce Missig with a time of 17:55 for second place.

The Benjamin School boys had four runners among the top 16 places to help their team cause to tally a team score of 73 points and 16 points better than the runners-up from South Florida HEAT with 101 points. 

A very similar story played out in the girls' race with South Florida HEAT strong upfront with a 1-2 finish by a pair of juniors in Mia Taylor (1st, 20:29) and Alyssa Benson (2nd, 20:50) both dipping under 21 minutes.

However, Benjamin School girls went to work after that taking 5 of the next 9 places led by Ingrid Corpus in third place at 21:06 to secure the team title with 34 points over South Florida HEAT in second place with 43 points. 

1A District 8 Meet 

October 26th @ Palmer Trinity School in Miami, FL 

One of the tougher and slower courses among the 1A district meets with winning times of 22:27 for the girls by Andrea Montaner from Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart and 17:51 for the boys by Henry Stark from Palmer Trinity School. 

Both runners led their squads to district team titles as well with Montaner's Carrollton girls putting up an impressive low team score of 26 points including taking 4 of the top 6 individual places with Montaner, Ariana Garcia (2nd, 22:41), Veronica Larrea (4th, 22:52), and Victoria Trap (6th, 23:19).

Palmer Trinity School boys also had a solid top-four represented near the front of the field to key their district team title with Henry Stark, George Stark (6th, 18:52), Eduardo del Rosal (8th, 19:02), and Alejandro Storper (9th, 19:03)